Training dental hygienists to place interim therapeutic restorations in a school-based teledentistry program: Oregon's virtual dental home

Richie Kohli, Jennifer Clemens, Linda Mann, Meagan Newton, Paul Glassman, Eli Schwarz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objectives: The objectives of this study on Oregon's virtual dental home were to: 1) demonstrate the feasibility of pilot project training of existing Expanded Practice Dental Hygienists (EPDHs) to perform interim therapeutic restorations (ITRs) in the community settings after diagnosis by the supervising dentist via teledentistry and 2) evaluate satisfaction of parents/guardians of children participating in a pilot program that provides school-based/on-site preventive dental care services utilizing expanded scope EPDHs to conduct dental screenings and place ITRs. Methods: This demonstration project was a 4-years longitudinal cohort study (2016-2019) in the school/community-based settings focusing on children in kindergarten to 3rd grade. EPDHs and dentists from a Dental Care Organization were trained to utilize teledentistry and EPDHs were trained to place ITRs, the latter provided onsite dental care. Data was collected regarding child's demographics and oral health status; and parents reported level of satisfaction from services received by their children. Data analysis included descriptive statistics and logistic regression analysis to assess the relative importance of demographic and clinical factors on caries status. Results: Onsite dental care was provided to 759 children. Of repeat patients (n = 377), 201 (53.3%) children had untreated decay at their first visit. Of these, 13% saw improvements in oral health status at their most recent visit (MRV). There were 162 ITRs planned out of which 50 patients received 99 ITRs. No adverse events were experienced. Of the repeat children receiving ITRs (n = 43), 28% saw improvement in their caries status at their MRV. Parents reported very high levels of satisfaction with the dental care program. Conclusion: Oregon's virtual dental home project was successful in training EPDHs to perform ITRs safely in school settings after caries diagnosis by the supervising dentist via teledentistry and in integrating this component into a regular school-based preventive dental program.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of public health dentistry
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

Keywords

  • dental access
  • dental hygienists
  • Interim therapeutic restorations
  • teledentistry
  • virtual dental home

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dentistry(all)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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